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Small game hunting season begins Friday; more wind turbines coming?  

I am not fossil fuel industry sympathizer or climate change denier — just someone who is passionate about protecting Lake Erie. Fishing will not be enhanced. Untold numbers of birds and bats will be killed. Mechanical failures can result in oil leaks. Boating will be riskier, due to collisions with the towers. Will money and equipment to dismantle the turbines be available at the end of their useful life; or will the companies declare bankruptcy and leave them to slowly decay? Why should Ohioans and other U.S. citizens surrender enormous public boating and fishing territory to any private company, especially a foreign one? What’s next, leasing Niagara Falls to China to sell hydropower back to us?

Credit:  John Hageman, The Great Outdoors | Sandusky Register | 10/29/2017 | www.sanduskyregister.com ~~

The small game season opens statewide on Friday. While I was in high school, this special day was treated as almost a holiday around here.

In fact, the only four days of high school that I ever missed were not because of being sick, but the opening day of hunting season each year – with a signed pass from the principal in my pocket.

Back then, hunting season meant pheasant and rabbit season. An army of Elmer Fudd’s stomped through about every harvested corn field and fallow weed patch around to find some rabbits and pheasants for the pot.

While still important to some, the majority of hunters save their vacation days to use during deer season. Because of a variety of reasons, namely poorer habitat and more predators, there are a lot fewer pheasants and rabbits – and as a result, fewer small game hunters.

A total of 12,250 wild pheasants were harvested in 2015-16, according to the latest Ohio Division of Wildlife surveys.

Another noteworthy topic is that of The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) soon making their decision on whether to permit the construction of six Lake Erie wind turbine units by the Lake Erie Energy Development Company (LEEDCo) and partners, now known collectively as Icebreaker Windpower, Inc.

The Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) research team has uncovered significant inaccuracies in the permit application.

The applicant’s cursory Environmental Assessment (EA) required for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) states that the project is expected to have no significant impact on birds in the study area.

However, BSBO contends that the bird studies conducted by the consulting company were inadequate, inappropriate and the data so questionably interpreted that it is worthless and ignores these facts:

The Central Basin of Lake Erie is listed by Bird Life International and the National Audubon Society as a “Globally Significant Bird Area” hosting half of the world’s population of Red-breasted mergansers and Ring-billed gulls and substantial populations of other gulls, shorebirds, raptors and other species – not to mention several species of bats during their seasonal migrations.

A newly published scientific paper provides documentation that Kirtland’s Warblers, once one of North America’s rarest birds, migrate through the portion of the lake that the proposed wind farm would be built.

Because of weak monitoring requirements and industry secrecy, the numbers of birds and bats claimed to be killed at existing wind farms are a fraction of the true numbers. Mortality data are concealed as trade secrets.

The applicant is not admitting to know about planned or known future projects that could have cumulative effects on birds and bats, a risk factor that NEPA is required to consider.

The Norwegian company, Fred. Olsen Renewables which partnered with LEEDCo to install the units hopes to create 5,000 Megawatts of power in Lake Erie (about 1,450 turbines) and expand into the other Great Lakes. The applicant is fully aware of these plans.

I am not fossil fuel industry sympathizer or climate change denier – just someone who is passionate about protecting Lake Erie. Fishing will not be enhanced. Untold numbers of birds and bats will be killed. Mechanical failures can result in oil leaks. Boating will be riskier, due to collisions with the towers.

Will money and equipment to dismantle the turbines be available at the end of their useful life; or will the companies declare bankruptcy and leave them to slowly decay?

Why should Ohioans and other U.S. citizens surrender enormous public boating and fishing territory to any private company, especially a foreign one? What’s next, leasing Niagara Falls to China to sell hydropower back to us?

Despite their claims that it will provide 500 jobs, the truth is that the majority are only temporary during project planning and construction of the units. At other locations, they cite the need for about one employee to monitor/maintain each 10 units.

Unless citizens are willing to go without electricity when the wind velocity isn’t just right, the turbines will still require traditional, reliable coal, natural gas or nuclear power plants as the primary power source.

I doubt that six units will seriously harm anything, but if denying the permit to install these six units will prevent the other 1,400-plus from ever being considered, I am convinced that it’s the right call for the OPSB to make.

A public meeting about the off-shore wind turbine project is scheduled for Nov. 8, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Cleveland City Council Chambers, Room 216 at 601 Lakeside Avenue.

Source:  John Hageman, The Great Outdoors | Sandusky Register | 10/29/2017 | www.sanduskyregister.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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